New England Patriots 2018 NFL Team Preview
2017 Record: 13-3
2017 ATS: 11-5
2017 Over/Under: 7-9
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 11 wins
The New England Patriots once again outperformed expectations in 2017 with 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS records. Their point spread success was all the more impressive considering a 2-4 ATS start. Without question one of the most amazing stats in the modern era of sports betting; the Patriots are 179-121-9 ATS (60%) dating back to 2001.
The Patriots did however come up short in their quest for sixth championship in the Belichick-Brady era. Brady is back for his 19th NFL season and has shown no signs of slowing down after throwing for over 4,500 yards including 80 pass plays of 20-plus yards in 2017. He did lose a few key weapons in Dion Lewis, Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola. Including the playoffs Amendola and Cooks accounted for 162 catches. And Julian Edelman will miss the first four games after missing all of last season. Brady will also be without his blind side protector as Nate Solder took a big payday with the New York Giants. Yes, the Patriots seemingly always find a way but the losses are difficult to deny.
The Patriots hope to make up the difference from a defensive standpoint. Their defense finished an unfathomable 31st in efficiency last year yet somehow ranked fifth in scoring (18.5 ppg). They were able to accomplish that by a positive turnover margin and the league’s 4th-best red zone defense. This year, the unit takes a step forward personnel-wise. They obtained the underrated Adrian Clayborn and Danny Shelton on the frontline, Jason McCourty in the secondary, and Dont’a Hightower returns after playing just five games a year ago. In a unique twist of fate, New England is likely to improve its defensive efficiency to a league-average level but also yield a higher scoring average.
The Patriots have won the AFC East 16 of the last 17 years. They’re almost a lock to win it again this year (-800 according to The Greek sportsbook). The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are in deep rebuilds while the Miami Dolphins are a middling outfit at best. In fact, it’s arguable those three teams might be the bottom three in all the NFL. However one can sense a trend with the Patriots; there’s simply no reason for much of a sense of urgency to start the season. The end game is to stay healthy, peak towards the playoffs, and reach another Super Bowl. I’ll be looking for opportunities to bet against New England the first half of the season.
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